In order to evaluate—much less to value—one’s civilization and culture, it is essential to be able to place it in the context of alternatives, both in space and in time. World History is a two-semester course designed to help students understand how humans have constructed their world, established and protected their values, and constructed the structures of their societies. It is a survey course which begins with the appearance of humans as a species, explores the earliest historical civilizations, and then progresses through time and space until the present, interconnected world in which we now reside. Throughout the course students are encouraged to ask themselves, “Am I better off here and now?” and “Where and when would I rather have lived?”
Today, particular emphasis is given to the unique value of each of us as individuals, with freedoms, rights, and duties. The course highlights the path by which such values—which have been rare in history and only recently appeared on the scene—came to dominate the way we look at the world.